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  •  Look at your title. (3+ / 0-)
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    mamamedusa, grumpelstillchen, a2nite

    It is a good example of one of the core problems. By judging an action by its effect on an object or victim, we let the perpetrator or agent escape consideration and, ipso facto, responsibility for the act.
    Moreover, in using a verb that means "acquire" to describe the action, a negative is made to sound like a positive. The victim "got" something. Of course, the press does it all the time. Even convicted criminals are presented to the public as recipients, as if a few years in prison or even being sentenced to death at the hands of the state were good things.
    While these verbal transformations do provide evidence for why it is said, "it is better to give than to receive," the ultimate effect on society has to be a lack of clarity. When imprisonment is referred to in the same manner as a new dress, the moral message is muddied.

    On the other hand, if we accept that human predators engage in thievery because they have no skills to trade, then long-term incarceration in a place where all their material needs are met can be accurately described as having been "gotten." But, if that's the case, if we recognize that some people need to be permanently sustained, it would seem to make more sense to do so, at the outside, rather than wait until they have inflicted various kinds of injury on others. Wolves were not transformed into dogs by waiting to see them bite.

    However, "gets shot" is never an accurate description of an event. The reason we should avoid the passive voice is because it disguises agency and, if we don't know who does what to whom, we can't have an effective response, never mind preventing a recurrence. The passive voice leaves us in a state of uncertainty.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 03:10:50 AM PST

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